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PROCEDURE:

Application forms for Christmas assistance are updated each year by the Christmas Bureau staff.  The forms are mailed to applicants from the previous year.  The completed applications are mailed to the Christmas Bureau where they are reviewed and keyed into a computer MASTER FILE.  

Those who do not receive applications through the mail are given the opportunity to apply through Certifying Agents, agencies and church groups that are willing to serve as entry points located throughout the area.  Locations are advertised in local newspapers, television, radio, flyers and referrals.  They may also call the Christmas Bureau (414-4405) for referral to the appropriate location.

Certifying Agents route the eligible applications to the Christmas Bureau where the information is transferred to the MASTER FILE and is checked to identify duplications and/or fraudulent applications.  The Christmas Bureau may deny applications taken by non-providers if the client does not meet eligibility guidelines. 

The Christmas Bureau forwards applicant information to the providers (there may be one provider for food and another for toys).  The Christmas Bureau retains a record of applications at United Way Information and Referral for a period of three years.

The Information and Referral Director has overall responsibility for the coordination of the Christmas Bureau and will work closely with the participating providers and certifiers. 

Training is offered each year for any new workers of the Certifying Agents who will be taking and/or processing applications.

All personnel and volunteers at United Way Information and Referral will be knowledgeable of procedures in order to field inquiries and questions directed to the Christmas Bureau staff.


ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:


INFORMATION AND REFERRAL:

  • Provides coordination of the Christmas Bureau operation.
  • Manages a system of control on applications, duplication, fraud, etc.
  • Routes applications to providers in a smooth and efficient manner.
  • Assists new providers’ entry into the system.
  • Compiles statistics as needed and at the end of the program year.


CERTIFYING AGENT:

  • Accepts and processes applications for Christmas assistance.
  • Attends training on processing and eligibility.
  • Prepares and distributes publicity to announce dates for taking applications in your area.  Announcement should include statement that this activity is coordinated with United Way of Central WV Christmas Bureau.


PROVIDERS:

  • Provide food (or food vouchers) and/or toys or gifts to eligible clients or families for Christmas.  Food vouchers are based on a cost determined to provide Christmas dinner for the number of people in the household.  Baskets should contain at a minimum, items needed to make a traditional Christmas dinner (chicken, ham or turkey and appropriate side dishes such as vegetables, bread, etc.)
  • Notify clients where and when to pick up food and/or toys, or when they will be delivered.  Some providers also use the labels to mark the gift baskets.  Providers may request and receive two sets of labels.
  • Provide toys for children from birth through age 14.
  • Share eligible families with individuals or groups in service areas for Christmas assistance.  
  • Prepare end of year report for Christmas Bureau.
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